Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the number of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained and supported to respond in the most effective way.
The impulse to help when others who are suffering is commendable. However, volunteering inside a disaster area can be dangerous, stressful work in extreme environments.
If you’d like to volunteer to assist those affected by disaster, these organizations have specific disaster roles and are the best place to start.
Do Not Self Deploy
Seeing images of disaster may compel you to head to the impacted area. Don’t underestimate the complexity of working in a disaster area. Until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support, volunteers should not enter.
Be sure to affiliate with existing voluntary organization before coming to the disaster area, and that organization has been asked to respond.
Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and opportunities have been identified.
Once assigned a position, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety gear for the task.
Disaster Chaplaincy Training
Become Certified in Disaster Spiritual & Emotional Help
This three-day training prepares faith leaders or institutional chaplains to volunteer as disaster chaplains in mass-care settings or to serve as disaster chaplains within their house of worship, religious community or professional institution. The modules demonstrate how diverse religious and cultural practice increases partner capabilities and builds whole community resilience. The course offers tools (tip sheets & a field guide set) and foundational skills to competently engage religious leaders and congregations in the field. Each registrant must be endorsed for this training and/or currently serve as a professional chaplain and/or credentialed religious leader.
TRAINING FOCUSES ON:
Religious Literacy & Competency in Crisis Settings
How to work as members of an interdisciplinary team within the Incident Command System
What to expect at disaster sites
How to provide Spiritual First Aid and Psychological First Aid
How to make appropriate assessments and referrals to Mental Health and other services
How to develop and maintain holistic self-care practices